In September 1992, I flew from Washington, D.C.'s Dulles Airport to Portland, stayed briefly with grandparents, then rode with my stuff down to Eugene to begin my first term at the University of Oregon. Plenty was in my future at that point — like voting for the first time and my almost immediate First College Crush, on a fellow dorm mate named Lori (nothing happened, I never asked her out and she dated someone else in the dorm and the day in spring '93 when I figured out that nothing would happen beyond her and I being friends is its own story) — and that included winter. As I closed out that first term, then flew to Virginia for Christmas and came back to Oregon for the next term, the weather started to turn. To turn, specifically, rainy.
I mean rainy.
No, I mean rainy.
Winter 1992-93 in northwestern Oregon was, even by northwestern Oregon standards, wet. It was thick-clouded, so it seemed darker than usual, too. I walked and bicycled around campus and, to an extent, Eugene, bundling myself well to keep from getting too wet. Occasionally I wore boots, feeling like the assassins walking in their magnetic boots through the disabled Klingon ship in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. (I wasn't used to wearing boots.)
So. Wet and cold. I'd gotten used to the often bone-dry winters Virginia can have, where there's so little moisture relative to the rest of the year that snowfall was only rarely an issue. (If Virginia had as much moisture in the air during the winter as it has in its humid summers, snow would regularly be a few feet, not a few inches, deep.) Before that, I'd lived in Southern California, where winter is sometimes just a rumor. And that winter in Eugene felt long. Longer than it really was.
When we started to climb into spring in 1993, I quietly rejoiced. Finally. FINALLY. And I told myself That was a wetter winter than normal. If I can handle that, I can handle Oregon. That's been true. And in 1993-94, when it was a much drier winter in northwestern Oregon than normal, I knew it and felt it.
This week, though winter here (relative to this winter in other parts of the country). Portland finally started to feel consistently like it's reached spring. Thank goodness.